It’s been almost a week since “The Word” happened and I am still failing at finding the appropriate words to describe the weekend. I have sat down so many times to try and summarize what took place, and I have walked away each time completely aware of my inability.
It is hard to put thoughts into words when God does something.
- When Jesus raises the spiritually dead to life, our program, pastor, or church cannot get the credit.
- When Jesus delivers people out of addictions and bondage, our event cannot get the credit.
- When Jesus births a love for the local church in the heart of isolated individuals, our people cannot get the credit.
Jesus did some amazing things among us.
I am so thankful for his living and active Word (Heb. 4:12) which promises never to come back to him void (Is. 55:8-11). When we proclaimed the Word through music, message, and media, we knew that he was going to change lives and he did. It was amazing to be in the room for it.
After an event like this, people often want to know: “So how many people got saved?”
My response: “We will just have to wait and see.”
I mean that very seriously. We had many people fill out cards indicating that they received Christ, but before rushing to sharing numbers, we are doing diligence to check in with these individuals. We are having personal conversations with each person who filled out a card so that we can help them walk through what happened.
The last thing we want to do is to give someone a false sense of assurance concerning salvation.
It has been encouraging to see the responses though. Please pray as we continue to talk with this group of people!
I also want to thank an incredible team of people who poured their hearts and efforts into this project.
- Jamie Strutton & Lacy Little – These two are more than staff – they are co-laborers in the Kingdom! They have followed me on one crazy idea after another and have worked tirelessly not for me, the church, or for approval, but they have worked as for the Lord (Col. 3:23) and it shows at their relentless commitment to detail. While these two were not front and center on the stage, they were working diligently on a list of details that would baffle your mind if you looked through it. North Side is blessed to have them using their gifting to impact lives for Christ!
- Band – This crew of talented musicians has never worked so hard as they have on this project. The musicality and the unity expressed among them cannot be overstated. They worked diligently to play with excellence (Ps. 33:3). As I have been listening to their work on the recording, I am reminded again of how blessed we are with a team that takes the work of leading in worship so seriously.
- Vocalists – Our team has grown. Due to the complexity of the parts we wanted to accomplish and the sheer volume of music, I split the team into an Old Testament and a New Testament team. Amanda Agnew and Ted Collins were the team leaders and they worked so diligently on incredible parts that added musicality to the songs and also a “layer of sound” that I wanted to cover. I gave them descriptions of the songs like, “I want this song to sound like a tribe marching through the desert…this song needs to sound like the Divine just invaded Earth…this song needs to sound like desperate moaning…this song needs to sound like angels are backing it up…” And somehow, they pulled it off and then some. It was incredible to watch and listen to them sing praises to our King (Ps. 47:6).
- Tech Team – This group of techies started meeting in August to pray and dream up how they could pull this event off. Their ideas and work to deliver the message of the gospel was amazing. They took every video, every font, every color seriously. They started by focusing on what the Bible was teaching, what mood was the song trying to convey, and how could media help deliver that message rather than distract from that message. Just as the Spirit of God filled men in the Old Testament with ability, intelligence, knowledge, and craftsmanship to create the worship environments with artistry (Ex. 31:3-6), he has gifted this team to desire effectiveness concerning gospel proclamation rather than notoriety for flashy presentations.
- Prayer Team – We had a team that was praying for months ahead of this event. They had specific requests that they rallied around during times of prayer. We also had a team stationed in the prayer room each night interceding over those in attendance. They had a guide that during each song, they were praying for specific things. For 90 minutes, they were praying Scripture over those on the other side of the wall. Out of all the great things I heard from these teams, my favorite line was from one member who prayed on Friday and worshiped on Saturday. His line: “Don’t get me wrong, tonight was great. I loved worshiping out here. But Friday night was better. It was a totally different experience. We could feel the walls begin to shake during ‘What a Savior’ when those gathered began to rejoice over the line, ‘You rose up from the grave.’ On our faces before God, crying out on their behalf, we were crying in worship asking God to change lives.” That is awesome!
- Promotion Team – We don’t play the number games here at North Side because it can be a faulty scoreboard. It shows something but it doesn’t show everything. With that being said, we had over 4000 people join us in worship on Easter weekend due to this promotion team getting the word out. That’s a bunch of people who got to hear the gospel! This team was handing out postcards, hanging posters, and making personal invitations (1 Thess. 2:8). It is hard to imagine that 4000 people are walking around Greenwood this week with the Word stuck in their head. The difference between this event and ones in the past is that our church really got out there and invited folks at a different level. Incredible to think about what those personal invitations led to happen in people’s lives. I wish I could tell you some of the stories I am hearing! It is amazing those that came. It is amazing to hear about ministry homes and what God did in the lives of those participants. You guys were used by God to get them there – praise the Lord!
- Host Team – In addition, we had a fantastic host team and staff members who welcomed everyone and kept traffic flow in tact. It was amazing to watch as these with the gift of hospitality (1 Pet. 4:9) went to work and were used to make people feel welcome at this event. These guys and gals were so eager to serve on these nights and made a significant impact! Your gifts put attendees at ease to hear the gospel message!
- Pastor Jeff – It is incredible to have such a godly and powerful pastor put so much trust in you and your team. He has been so encouraging and supportive of this entire process. He has been the biggest fan and servant of it all. To have him proclaim the gospel in such a powerful way was incredible to watch. I heard from someone who wants to make North Side their home who said, “I walked away from Church years ago due to the brashness and the ungodly character of a pastor. Jeff seems like somebody I could actually sit down with and have a conversation with.” No truer words could be spoken. Thankful for a legit pastor on and off the stage!
As we are still working through contacting those that want further information, we are working hard on editing and mixing the CD! We are happy to announce that “The Word” live CD will be available Sunday, May 3rd!
Please pray for us as we have many details to go over to get this done by then! I have been listening through the recordings this week and been so thankful for what I am hearing already! And that is before any mixing has been done. I am simply listening to and editing raw audio files. My favorite mics are the crowd mics as people sing out!
We actually were able to do all the live recording in-house for the first time on this project! We had someone outside the church donate money to this project and the entire deal is a G0d-thing. Short story was the choice we had of staying faithful to God’s Word and he took care of the finances needed to begin this process without us even being aware what was at stake! Praise the Lord!
I will continue to share progress and some sneak listens in the days to come. It humbles me to know how many of you got behind this project. We are continually praying about how to share this more and what are the next steps. Last night, as our team and their families gathered together for a time of fellowship, I was asked: “So, what’s next? We know the wheels are turning. Where do we go next?”
Are there thoughts? Yep. Am I excited? Absolutely. But I also know that this is a season to step back and be thankful for what God has done in our midst (Ps. 50:14-15). I can too often run to the next thing without thanking him for the last thing.
So, thank you, Jesus. I love serving you. If my life can be spent in getting your Word out to other people, it will be a life not wasted!